Promoting Inclusive Markets and Financial Systems
Lead Firms in Pro-Poor Market Development
Lead firms are an essential component of any market system. They are key influential actors, which have the potential to influence other businesses, and provide products or services that can address the constraints and challenges that face small businesses or micro-enterprises. Those with a willingness to commit finance, personnel or time in benefitting the value chain are the most likely to bring about useful and sustainable change, and so many lead firms are large companies, however they can also be small firms, or even cooperatives – the key factor is their ability to influence and drive change. Lead firms are therefore strategic partners that can help inclusive market development organizations to bring about sustainable change for marginalised people.
This document builds on the Lead Firms discussion paper produced by Richard Illiffe and Lucho Osorio in May 2010, which was circulated to MaFI members to spark a debate on some key issues with lead firms. The document summarises the results of this debate, which was held over a period of three days on the Market Facilitation Initiative (MaFI) online forum from 27th-29th July 2010.